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Delaware primary to determine Gingrich campaign's future, source says

April 24, 2012|By Seema Mehta
  • Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks at the New York Republican State Dinner in New York City.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks at the New York… (Spencer Platt / Getty Images )

The results of tonight’s Delaware primary will dictate the future of Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid, according to a source with his campaign.

The race for the GOP nomination is all but wrapped up, with Mitt Romney becoming the de facto nominee after Rick Santorum dropped out of the race earlier this month. Gingrich, in debt and having won only two states, has acknowledged that Romney is in all likelihood the party's nominee, but had pledged to stay in the race until the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., to make sure that the conservative wing of the party had a voice.

But according to a campaign source, a strong win by Romney in Delaware would prompt Gingrich to reassess his efforts, echoing comments the former House speaker made in an interview with NBC News on Monday. The source said that although Gingrich will continue his campaign schedule this week in North Carolina, a Romney blowout in Delaware would prompt the candidate to meet with supporters and decide whether to drop out of the race.

Conversely, a win by Gingrich in Delaware would solidify his resolve. The state only offers 17 delegates, but the campaign believes that a win there would trigger a financial surge that would fuel Gingrich's candidacy going into North Carolina.

Campaign officials are also hopeful that a victory would prompt another round of help from a pro-Gingrich "super PAC" that ABC News reported has $5 million in the bank. The campaign believes that the upcoming primary calendar -- North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia -- offers favorable ground for Gingrich, setting the stage for a showdown with Romney in two states with hundreds of delegates: Texas and California.

The third possibility -- if Romney wins Delaware but barely -- offers a less certain path for Gingrich. Such a scenario would highlight Romney's remaining weaknesses, and offer conservatives one more opportunity to coalesce behind Gingrich, the campaign source said.

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Original source: Delaware primary to determine the future of Gingrich's campaign

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